1. The actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.

    1. The carrying out or exercise of a profession (...).
  2. The customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing of something.

  3. Repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.

    1. A period of time spent practicing an activity or skill.

Practice is a common way of referring to the artistic practice or the field in which the designer works. Practice can also relate to the exercise of thinking or making. At Design Academy Eindhoven students become aware of and develop their design practice by practicing their head, heart and hand skills in unison.

Often, practice is regarded as being in opposition to theory. In a design practice however, theory and thinking inspire practice, and practice inspires theory and thinking – they are dual entities in a single landscape. The design practice can thus be described as a manifestation of hand-heart-head coordination, with thought and practice as interrelated parts and the designer as the conductor. Thinking through making is a process in which practice and theory work hand in hand.

Practice can also be understood in relation to exercising a skill or a craft and, with time, mastering it. Getting to know the movement and language of the hand, heart and head, and developing them, requires concentrated and ongoing practice. Thinking with your hands, embodied knowledge and tacit knowledge are components within this process.


  • Pallasmaa, J. (2009). The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
  • Kimbell, L. (2011). Rethinking design thinking, part I., Design and Culture 3 (3). 285–306.
  • Kimbell, L. (2012). Rethinking design thinking, part II., Design and Culture 2 (4). 129–148.